Sarcoma Diagnosis and Staging

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Early, accurate diagnosis and staging of both soft-tissue and bone sarcomas are crucial to delivering the most effective treatments and achieving the best possible patient outcomes.


After a physical exam and a discussion of the patient’s medical history and symptoms, we might order testing. These tests can include:

  • A tissue sample (biopsy): Tissue samples from the tumor are extracted and sent to our pathologists for examination under a microscope. We typically perform needle biopsies, using a computed tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound imaging to precisely guide the needle to the tumor. Our surgeons might perform an incisional or excisional biopsy if additional tumor cells are needed for diagnosis. An incisional biopsy requires a small cut in the skin to   remove part of the tumor, while an excisional biopsy surgically removes the entire tumor. Local or general anesthesia – whichever is appropriate – is administered prior to all biopsies. 
  • Imaging studies: Imaging options include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, CT scan, musculoskeletal radiology (“bone scans”), and positron emission tomography (PET) and help clinicians visualize tumors and perform guided biopsies and other procedures. 
  • Blood work: The levels of certain chemicals in the blood can indicate the stage of a sarcoma. 

Results from biopsies, advanced imaging studies, and blood tests enable our team to accurately identify, diagnose, stage, and plan the most appropriate treatment for all types of sarcoma. 

When appropriate, patients can meet with our clinical geneticists, who can help determine if there is a familial predisposition for sarcoma that could affect their relatives.


A cancer’s stage indicates whether it has spread beyond the site in which it originated, and if so, how far. The stage of sarcoma helps our team determine the most appropriate treatment.